HomeMovies'Pig' is a Surprising and Surprisingly Affecting Turn for Nic Cage

‘Pig’ is a Surprising and Surprisingly Affecting Turn for Nic Cage

Nicolas Cage in PIG
Photo Courtesy of NEON Films

Written by Sam Niles

“It’s not safe out here. It’s wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it’s not for the timid.”

I didn’t expect to recall that Star Trek: The Next Generation quote when Pig was over. But no one knew what to expect when they first heard about Pig, a new film about a man named Rob (Nicolas Cage) searching for his stolen pet pig, either. No one knew what to expect watching Pig’s trailer. And no one will know what to expect while watching the movie. But you will, at some point, accept it. Whether it’s a resigned acceptance or proper understanding, you will accept every apparent oddity. Every “what the hell” moment will pay off, sometimes with a “sure”, but mostly with an “of course.”

Sometimes you’ll even get two of the same responses in a row. Take the scene where Rob leaves home to search for his truffle pig. Rob is resourceful, so, of course he has a truck under a tarp and the resources to start the rarely used vehicle, and of course the truck breaks down a minute into his drive. 

In another scene, Rob is with the man to whom he supplies truffles, Amir (Alex Wolff), getting lunch at an exclusive new restaurant. Their lunch is a cover, as a lead said they could find information on Rob’s pig here, so Rob wants to speak to the chef of this impossibly exclusive restaurant. When Chef Finway (David Knell) appears, it takes a little prodding, but he eventually recognizes Rob. Childish idolatry overtakes him. Finway starts this new conversation saying, “I don’t know if you remember,” the time he was Rob’s prep cook, and of course Rob remembers firing him after two months because he consistently overcooked the pasta.

With this (apparent) insult, Rob’s steadily raising voice, and Chef Finway’s pathetic, sycophantic attempts to dance around the issue of the pig, of course the scene feels like it’s building up to something. Something bad, something scary, something that will make this movie John Wick for pigs, and of course what actually happens is positively life-affirming. 

I won’t say what happens at that moment. Pig is a film you should know very little about going in. But I can say that Pig is about taking life as it comes, for better or worse, and no one is more suited for this film than Nicolas Cage. In his Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans review, Roger Ebert described the man as fearless, not caring if you think he’s going over the top.

This understated performance isn’t the same over-the-top Cage, but it is the same fearless Cage. In writer-director Michael Sarnoski’s world, a bite of food and some wine can bring back a lifetime of romance and heartbreak. As we’re in this wondrous world, Nicolas Cage’s Rob is our guide. He takes us through a beautiful city, an industry most don’t see the other side of, all to find a pig, in a journey that will pierce your soul and give you a big hug afterwards. 

I’ve seen the film twice now. The disorientation of the first viewing was gone in the second. All the “what the hells” were gone, and only acceptance. But this acceptance didn’t numb me to the emotions, simply gave me new things to say “of course” to. Of course I’m going to laugh here, of course I’m going to tense up here, of course I’m going to cry here, and of course I can’t wait to see this movie again.

Pig is now playing in select theaters.


Pop-Break Staff
Pop-Break Staffhttps://thepopbreak.com
Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.

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